Sunday, 21 March 2010

On British Food for the Observer



Chris, Helen and EuWen performed admirably in their interviews with Jay Rayner on the topic of British food. Sadly, I couldn't join in because it was filmed on my first day of my new life in Sweden. But I was able to submit a short piece on the topic which was featured in Observer. The irony of having my first piece or writing published in my favourite newspaper on the first Sunday that I don't have access to it, is certainly not lost on me. In fact I still haven't seen it for myself yet!

So, is there really such a thing as British food?

"Sometime you don’t realise what you have until its gone. So to see if there really is such a thing as British food, let’s conduct a thought experiment.

Suspend your current beliefs and remove the likes of sausage and mash, fish and chips as well as steak and ale pie from your life. Imagine they don’t even exist. And if you can, try to remove the idea of tucking into a full roast rib of beef, replete with Yorkshire puddings and crispy potatoes that have been roasted in sinful goose fat followed by apple crumble with gallons of custard.

Now, if you can imagine life being exactly the same without all this lovely, generous food, then unfortunately British food doesn’t exist. However, if when you temporarily erased all these hearty dishes from your mind, you broke out in cold sweats and started singing Jerusalem, then we can be fairly sure that British food is very definitely a real thing."


The timing of this was very meaningful. Various strands of my life converged and sparked prophetically. And it made me really think about the fact that by moving to Sweden I have left a litany of things behind that are proving very hard to live without. Cowie, British food, friends, family, London, the British countryside etc.

But by conducting the same thought experiment, it's very clear that they all still exist. And on a beautiful day in Gothenburg I couldn't think of anything better than tucking into rare roast lamb followed by rhubarb crumble and custard. But I'll have to wait until I return home at Easter for that.

(PS I love the pose that EuWen is frozen in. He appears to be describing a girl with particularly enormous breasts).

8 comments:

Kavey said...

I'll be mentally thinking of your blog as "Around Sweden With A Paunch" from now on!

I agree 100% with your statement above.

And god yes about Euwen and the titties!

Paunchos said...

@Kavey - Glad you agree. Euwen and the titties cracks me up each time I look at it. I'll be sorting out the Paunch soon so that the Swedish theme becomes more prominent.

Helen said...

Ha ha ha ha! "(PS I love the pose that EuWen is frozen in. He appears to be describing a girl with particularly enormous breasts)."

Love it.

Thanks for the compliment on the vid, I can't watch it myself.

Paunchos said...

@Helen - Glad you found it funny too and it wasn't just me being a knob.

Manggy said...

As I constantly trawl the publishers' sites for new books, I keep noticing that there's always a title or two each month solely for British food. I love the sense of national pride you guys have for your food. It certainly has gotten a bad reputation in the not-too-distant past.
Congratulations on the publication!! :)

theundergroundrestaurant said...

Good luck Jonathan. It's always difficult moving. They say it takes 2 years to feel at home.

Jonathan said...

@manggy -Thanks. And you're right. It seems very fashionable right now to write about British food. It seems to have developed a degree of credibility.

@theundergroundrestaurant - Thanks Kerstin. Hopefully I settle in quicker than that! But feeling like "home" is a big ask for anywhere.

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